Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

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Kelvin
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Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Kelvin » 02 Sep 2018 14:31

Hi, I am looking for actual number of motor vehicles and horses in Allied troop in May 1940 : I have some already ,

Dutch Army had 30,000 horses,9,000 motorcycles, 2,800 personnel cars and 12,000 trucks in May 1940

French Army had 436,000 motor vehicles, 345000 of which in Field Army but breakdown is unknown.

I am looking for actual number of motor vehicles in BEF
and how many motor vehicles and horses in Belgian Army and number of horses in this period, anyone can help on that ?

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Sheldrake
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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Sheldrake » 02 Sep 2018 20:03

Ellis gives the following https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/UN/UK/ ... rs-23.html

Shipped to France (September 1939–May 1940)
Guns 2,794
Vehicles 68,618
Motor Cycles 21,081

Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 04 Sep 2018 03:36

Kelvin wrote:
02 Sep 2018 14:31
...

French Army had 436,000 motor vehicles, 345000 of which in Field Army but breakdown is unknown. ...
Perhaps of no help, but my old notes have the French with nine motor inf div, plus the three DLM (a fourth forming, three DCR (fourth forming, five motor cavalry divisions (closer to regimental combat teams in actual size.) The DLM, DCR, and DLC all used a lot of tracked/armored transport for the dragoons and light weapons, like AT guns, MG, mortars. vs wheeled trucks. My notes also state 40% of the total French artillery was motorized. I suspect that most of this was in the corps and army artillery groups. The standard infantry divisions depended on horses for artillery traction, but also had a lot of light automobiles for officers, local supply delivery.

By contrast the Germans are supposed to 20% of their artillery motorized in 1940. There were five motor rifle divisions using mostly wheeled vehicles, and those had six infantry battalions vs the nine of the French motor ID. The Germans had also combed out their infantry divisions for light automotive transport, in part to supply the four new armored divisions formed during the winter. The balance went to transport companies in the corps/army pools,

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Kelvin » 04 Sep 2018 04:47

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
04 Sep 2018 03:36
Kelvin wrote:
02 Sep 2018 14:31
...

French Army had 436,000 motor vehicles, 345000 of which in Field Army but breakdown is unknown. ...
Perhaps of no help, but my old notes have the French with nine motor inf div, plus the three DLM (a fourth forming, three DCR (fourth forming, five motor cavalry divisions (closer to regimental combat teams in actual size.) The DLM, DCR, and DLC all used a lot of tracked/armored transport for the dragoons and light weapons, like AT guns, MG, mortars. vs wheeled trucks. My notes also state 40% of the total French artillery was motorized. I suspect that most of this was in the corps and army artillery groups. The standard infantry divisions depended on horses for artillery traction, but also had a lot of light automobiles for officers, local supply delivery.

By contrast the Germans are supposed to 20% of their artillery motorized in 1940. There were five motor rifle divisions using mostly wheeled vehicles, and those had six infantry battalions vs the nine of the French motor ID. The Germans had also combed out their infantry divisions for light automotive transport, in part to supply the four new armored divisions formed during the winter. The balance went to transport companies in the corps/army pools,
Hello, Carl, French exactly had seven Motorized infantry divisions (1, 3, 5, 9, 12, 15 and 25th DIM), 5 x Light Cavalry divisons (DLC) is half motorized and half horsed with 2,000 horses. By Calculation, French 7 x motorized infantry divisions, 3 x DLM and 3 x DCR were fully motorized and 5 x DLC were half motorized. Only one third of Corps Artillery Regiment were motorized. but 8 out of nine Fortress mobile artillery regiments were motorized. And many of Army artillery units were also motorized. But only 3 out of 9 Corp reconnaissance battalions were motorized. Other is half cavlary and half motor.

German, on the other hand, had ten Panzer divisions and six motorized infantry divisions ( Heer 2, 13, 20 and 29 Mot and Waffen SS VT and Totenkofp divisons) and one motorized Brigade (11th Schutzen) and 2 x motorized infantry regiment ( LAH and GD). But seemed that Geramn infanterie divisions had more Motor than avergage French infantry divisions.

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Knouterer » 08 Sep 2018 08:00

No European army, not even those that largely relied on horses, could afford to buy enough motor vehicles to equip the whole army upon mobilisation. Some nations had some kind of subsidy scheme, under which civilian operators like trucking companies agreed to buy certain types of militarily useful vehicles, keep them in good working order and hand them over when mobilisation was declared. This could then be supplemented by wholesale requisitioning.

In the French army, for example, at the beginning of Sept. 1939, the situation was as follows:
Motorcycles: military 8,890, requisitioned 57,973
Cars (voitures de liaison): mil. 6,756, req. 57,209
Trucks: mil. 24,358 + 2,768 ambulances, req. 158,561
Special vehicles (tractors etc., all AFVs except tanks): mil. 28,875, req. 13,324.

Source: François Vauvillier and Jean-Michel Touraine, L’automobile sous l’uniforme 1939-40
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Knouterer » 08 Sep 2018 08:15

As regards the British army, on the outbreak of war in 1939 it was motorised to a much higher degree than any continental army.
According to the plans as they stood in 1938, six Territorial divisions would become “motorised” divisions (50th (Northumbrian) and 1st (London) among others); their role would be to exploit a gap in the enemy front created by the Mobile Division, renamed the 1st Armoured Division in 1939. These motorised divisions were smaller than a normal infantry division, with two brigades; however none were sent to France as such and by mid-1940 they were all reorganised as standard infantry divisions.

In an infantry division, artillery and supporting units were fully motorised, only the infantry and (part of) the engineers still had to march; in principle, every platoon in a rifle company had a 15cwt truck allotted to carry baggage, rations, ammunition, the platoon’s AT rifle and mortar, &c.

The army acquired civilian vehicles in two ways: impressment and hiring. As explained by David Fletcher, British Military Transport 1829-1956, p. 70:
“Impressment was a War Office responsibility, through the Chief Inspector of Supplementary Transport. It involved RASC officers visiting companies that owned vehicles and earmarking suitable examples of selected makes and models for service. Each vehicle had to be well maintained and fit for at least three years’ further service. (…) As soon as the government announced that the country was to mobilise for war the lorry owner was responsible for delivering his vehicles to one of four centres around the country where they would be repainted and prepared for military service. The owner, naturally, being reimbursed in much the same way as he would have been under the old subsidy scheme.
Hiring was done at a local level, based on the Army Command district. The principle of inspection and selection was the same but a wider range of vehicles could be considered since they were intended for local use for a shorter period.”

Numbers concerning the losses in France vary, but Fletcher (p. 75), thinks 85,000 is a reasonable number (excluding AFVs, but including motorcycles, apparently). The proportions of War Department (WD) and “impressed” vehicles seem to have been roughly 50-50.

An impressment form:
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Kelvin
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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Kelvin » 08 Sep 2018 09:02

Knouterer wrote:
08 Sep 2018 08:15
As regards the British army, on the outbreak of war in 1939 it was motorised to a much higher degree than any continental army.
According to the plans as they stood in 1938, six Territorial divisions would become “motorised” divisions (50th (Northumbrian) and 1st (London) among others); their role would be to exploit a gap in the enemy front created by the Mobile Division, renamed the 1st Armoured Division in 1939. These motorised divisions were smaller than a normal infantry division, with two brigades; however none were sent to France as such and by mid-1940 they were all reorganised as standard infantry divisions.

In an infantry division, artillery and supporting units were fully motorised, only the infantry and (part of) the engineers still had to march; in principle, every platoon in a rifle company had a 15cwt truck allotted to carry baggage, rations, ammunition, the platoon’s AT rifle and mortar, &c.

The army acquired civilian vehicles in two ways: impressment and hiring. As explained by David Fletcher, British Military Transport 1829-1956, p. 70:
“Impressment was a War Office responsibility, through the Chief Inspector of Supplementary Transport. It involved RASC officers visiting companies that owned vehicles and earmarking suitable examples of selected makes and models for service. Each vehicle had to be well maintained and fit for at least three years’ further service. (…) As soon as the government announced that the country was to mobilise for war the lorry owner was responsible for delivering his vehicles to one of four centres around the country where they would be repainted and prepared for military service. The owner, naturally, being reimbursed in much the same way as he would have been under the old subsidy scheme.
Hiring was done at a local level, based on the Army Command district. The principle of inspection and selection was the same but a wider range of vehicles could be considered since they were intended for local use for a shorter period.”

Numbers concerning the losses in France vary, but Fletcher (p. 75), thinks 85,000 is a reasonable number (excluding AFVs, but including motorcycles, apparently). The proportions of War Department (WD) and “impressed” vehicles seem to have been roughly 50-50.

An impressment form:
Hello, Knouterer, thank so much for your detailed information in two posts, very helpful. :D

I am always think British infantry divisions were completely motorized and according to your post, Seven French DIM seemed like have more motorization than British infantry divisions. Correct ? Thank

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Gary Kennedy » 10 Sep 2018 18:47

A British Inf Div was only completely motorised in the sense that all of its transport was motor vehicles, with no horse drawn element. As detailed above many of the units of the Div had enough transport to carry all their personnel in a single lift, but not the Inf Bdes. It required the attachment of a Troop Carrying Coy, RASC, which included 75x 3-ton lorries in three Sections of 25 each, with one Sec being able to lift the marching personnel of an Inf Bn. These were to be provided for the Motor Divs also mentioned above; and I am relying on memory here but I'm pretty sure that 50th Div did go over as a Motor Div, including its Motorcycle Bn for recce.

I'm afraid I've never got to grips enough with 1940 French organisations to consider how a DIM would compare to a British Div in terms of motorisation levels. Certainly right through into the 1943-45 campaigns a British Inf Div could not lift all its personnel with its organic transport in a single move, requiring some degree of Corps or Army level RASC transport to do so. It's that subtle difference of being fully motorised as an army, but not having full motorisation of all units within said army.

Gary

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Knouterer » 11 Sep 2018 07:50

A list of the motor divisions on the outbreak of war, each with two brigades and two field artillery regiments. Only two have an anti-tank regiment, which would seem essential for their intended role.

http://www.niehorster.org/017_britain/3 ... v_mot.html
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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Gary Kennedy » 11 Sep 2018 12:08

Joslen shows a few changes by Nov39, with 55th Div sending its 66 Atk Regt to 59th Div in Nov, before it returned in Jul40 when 59th added 68 Atk Regt. 50th Div had added 65 Atk Regt by 20Nov39, and they did go over as a full Motor Div. 23rd Div went over as a partial formation only and didn't include an Atk Regt before disbandment in Jun40. 1st Lon Div added 67 Atk Regt by Jul40, by which time they'd commenced reorganisation as an Inf Div, and 2nd Lon added 62 Atk Regt in Oct39. So that's three of the six Mot Divs with Atk Regts by Christmas 1939 it seems, leaving three without.

I'm trying to recall now whether there was an argument at the time that Motor Divs were simply a way of padding out the order of battle as they could be assembled with fewer resources than were required to complete an Inf Div.

Gary

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Kelvin » 13 Sep 2018 04:41

Gary Kennedy wrote:
10 Sep 2018 18:47
A British Inf Div was only completely motorised in the sense that all of its transport was motor vehicles, with no horse drawn element. As detailed above many of the units of the Div had enough transport to carry all their personnel in a single lift, but not the Inf Bdes. It required the attachment of a Troop Carrying Coy, RASC, which included 75x 3-ton lorries in three Sections of 25 each, with one Sec being able to lift the marching personnel of an Inf Bn. These were to be provided for the Motor Divs also mentioned above; and I am relying on memory here but I'm pretty sure that 50th Div did go over as a Motor Div, including its Motorcycle Bn for recce.

I'm afraid I've never got to grips enough with 1940 French organisations to consider how a DIM would compare to a British Div in terms of motorisation levels. Certainly right through into the 1943-45 campaigns a British Inf Div could not lift all its personnel with its organic transport in a single move, requiring some degree of Corps or Army level RASC transport to do so. It's that subtle difference of being fully motorised as an army, but not having full motorisation of all units within said army.

Gary
Hi, Gary if compare with number of motor vehicles, French DIM seemed to have larger motor vehicles stock than 1940 British infantry division.

1940 British infantry division had 670 motorcycles, 864 cars and 844 trucks

1940 French DIM : three each infantry regiment had 101 x lorries/trucks, 12 x cars and 99 x motorcycles each, Light artillery regiment had 143 x lorries/trucks , 32 x cars and 69 motorcycles and 124 tractors, heavy artillery regiment had 116 x lorries/trucks, 23 x cars and 48 x motorcycles.
Two engineer company each had 14 trucks, medical group had 13 x trucks, radio company had 24 x trucks, telegraph company had 26 x trucks
Divisonal recce battalion had 77 x lorries/trucks, 35 x cars and 254 x motorcycles.

In term of number of motorcycles, both divisions had same number of motorcycles.

And when in war, each French DIM had three GTP for each infantry regiment transportation, each GTP for each infantry regiment. Each GTP had 390 x trucks and 80 x lorries and some liasion cars and motorcycles.
By calculating, French DIM each had over 4,000 motor vehicles. that mean French DIM had high mobility than British infantry division in 1940.

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Gary Kennedy » 13 Sep 2018 15:18

If the DIM was meant to be fully mobile as well as fully motorised, probably no surprise that they'd have a greater number of motor vehicles than a British Inf Div, which was fully motorised but not fully mobile. Going through the relevant British war establishments for 1938-40 does give some different figures for transport from those in Joslen and likewise those above. Below are figures as from the various WEs up to mid-1940, while the number in brackets is as given for the same category by Joslen;

My figures amended after a chastening proof read and redo :(

Motorcycles - 664 (670)
Cars (all) - 116 (117)
8-cwt trucks - 181 (279)
15-cwt trucks - 631 (531)
Vans - 41 (30)
1-ton (AA LMG) - 20 (20)
30-cwt lorries - 264 (444)
3-ton lorries - 402 (224)
Tractors (arty) - 156 (156)
Ambulances - 24 (24)
Carriers - 140 (140)
Light tanks - 28 (28)

This excludes Light Aid Detachments from the Army Field Workshop, includes the Div Cav Regt but excludes MG Bns. It would look better in a PDF table I know.

And just to edit, the majority of lorries in the British Divs were always there for carriage of stores and supplies, not moving personnel. So while an Inf Div was highly motorised, it was still largely moving at walking pace in terms of its fighting units

A British Motor Div would be different again as it had revised WEs for various elements and fewer combatant units.

Gary

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Kelvin » 14 Sep 2018 04:34

Gary Kennedy wrote:
13 Sep 2018 15:18
If the DIM was meant to be fully mobile as well as fully motorised, probably no surprise that they'd have a greater number of motor vehicles than a British Inf Div, which was fully motorised but not fully mobile. Going through the relevant British war establishments for 1938-40 does give some different figures for transport from those in Joslen and likewise those above. Below are figures as from the various WEs up to mid-1940, while the number in brackets is as given for the same category by Joslen;

My figures amended after a chastening proof read and redo :(

Motorcycles - 664 (670)
Cars (all) - 116 (117)
8-cwt trucks - 181 (279)
15-cwt trucks - 631 (531)
Vans - 41 (30)
1-ton (AA LMG) - 20 (20)
30-cwt lorries - 264 (444)
3-ton lorries - 402 (224)
Tractors (arty) - 156 (156)
Ambulances - 24 (24)
Carriers - 140 (140)
Light tanks - 28 (28)

This excludes Light Aid Detachments from the Army Field Workshop, includes the Div Cav Regt but excludes MG Bns. It would look better in a PDF table I know.

And just to edit, the majority of lorries in the British Divs were always there for carriage of stores and supplies, not moving personnel. So while an Inf Div was highly motorised, it was still largely moving at walking pace in terms of its fighting units

A British Motor Div would be different again as it had revised WEs for various elements and fewer combatant units.

Gary
Hello, Gary, thank for your data from your exhaustive studies. Very helpful. My old British division TOE from very old book from Ellis 's encyclpodeia on WWII. I always think fully motorized division mean they travelled on truck and go what they want. Now I know it is different, only fully mobile division is this model.
Did three immobile infantry divisions for labour duties : 12th, 23rd and 46th infantry divisions have much less number of motor vehicles than your information posted above ?

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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Knouterer » 14 Sep 2018 13:27

Gary Kennedy wrote:
13 Sep 2018 15:18
Carriers - 140 (140)
Light tanks - 28 (28)
This supposes that the division had a divisional cavalry regiment with 28 light tanks (Mk VIB) and 44 Scout Carriers, which was the intention, but by May the four available regiments were grouped in the 1st and 2nd Light Armoured Reconnaissance Brigades.

See: http://www.warestablishments.net/Great% ... ay1938.pdf

After the campaign in France, all existing cavalry regiments were (gradually) assigned to the several new armoured divisions, and a new Reconnaissance Corps was formed to provide infantry divisions with one battalion each (equipped with armoured cars and carriers).
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Knouterer
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Re: Motorization of Allied troop in May 1940

Post by Knouterer » 14 Sep 2018 13:39

A picture (IWM F3182) showing the eight light tanks and some of the Scout Carriers of a squadron of such a divisional cavalry regiment. The Scout Carrier differed in minor details from the Bren Carrier used by the infantry, weapons mountings were different and each SC was "fitted for wireless" although in the BEF only one in three actually carried a radio.
By May 1940, both had been replaced in production by the Universal Carrier, which many people kept calling a Bren Carrier.
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